Romper Stomper: Special Edition Geoffrey Wright

Skins won't be the only ones saying "oi" at this exercise in pseudo-liberal sensationalism. Russell Crowe lends his thousand-yard stare to the role of Hando, the leader of a skinhead gang who discovers incest survivor Gabe (Jacqueline McKenzie) and falls in love. Of course, the love story takes a back seat to the adventures of the gang, who tussle with the wrong group of Vietnamese and wind up with a riot on their hands. But whether you call it a love story or a straight drama, there's no denying that it's ridiculous, offering no new perspective on the skinhead phenomenon and coming close to glorifying the endorphin rush of terrorising hapless non-whites. Director Geoffrey Wright can justify his lazy scripting and vague politics all he likes, but as he ramps up the violence and juices up the incest angle, it becomes obvious that he's hijacking issues rather than dealing with them. There's nothing here to compare with Alan Clarke's Made in Britain, which offered some of the possible motives for joining such a group, or Bruce LaBruce's clear-minded dissections of the very traps Wright falls into. The end result is like watching a poorly-made Quadrophenia for the entirely wrong subculture, and though a pre-stardom Crowe knocks it out of the park, not even he can save it. A two-disc special edition, disc one features an astoundingly facile commentary by Wright that's mostly "this actor was great" and "this location is now a boutique," as well as an option to watch the movie with just the music track. Disc two features recent interviews with Wright that only cement his ignoramus status, 1992 interviews with Wright, Crowe, McKenzie and Danny Lee, a "facts/photos" gallery about the production, text of three glowing reviews, cast and crew biographies, and a demonstration of the film restoration process. (Maple)